Working in styles not seen on British television for a very long time, this first episode of six-part Portuguese melodrama ‘Mysteries of Lisbon’, from late, legendary Chilean director Raoul Ruiz, intrigues and rewards in equal measure. Adapted from a novel by nineteenth-century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, the story focuses on a bright young boy in an austere boarding school who feels as confused and existentially alone as an orphan.
It can’t be denied that a few stylistic niggles might make you switch over within minutes. Lines are unexpectedly (and clumsily) dubbed into English at the start, before returning to subtitles with no explanation. The subtitles themselves present their own problems – even an enthusiastic teenage text-addict would find the overload of exclamation marks (‘I’m going right away!’; ‘But you said you were happy!’) annoying. But persevere. There is much to absorb and enjoy in this slowly unfurling tale of the boy, his shellshocked countess mother and his poor unfortunate father.
Bea's Cake Boutique
This new branch of Bea’s must be one of the most picture-perfect cake shops around. Its pastel interior has a bit of Wes Anderson about it, with a touch of Sketch thrown in – think pale pink leather banquettes and a subtle sprinkling of kitsch in the form of dangling gold teacup lampshades. Thankfully, the cakes served here live up to the scrummy decor – and we’d expect nothing less of Bea’s (who’ve dropped the ‘of Bloomsbury’ bit as they’ve expanded), now on their fourth eat-in location. After much umming and ahhing at the counter – which was all handled with grace by the cheery staff – we opted for a piece of lemon meringue cheesecake and a duffin. The cake hybrid thing may be getting a bit old now, but the latter, a very generously portioned cross between a doughnut and a muffin, wasn’t much like either. Rather, it was a very delicious, jam-filled sponge; light, sweet and livened up by warming spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. The cheesecake tasted as good as it looked, and wasn’t too sugary, maintaining a good zing from the fresh lemons and a buttery base that Mary Berry would approve of. Also on offer were a solid range of ‘free from’ options, including vegan cupcakes, and Bea’s famous afternoon teas (which need to be ordered in advance). In the interests of a balanced review, we ordered a tricolore salad, too – while fresh, it could have done with a good glug of olive oil and a bit of seasoning. But let’s face it, you don’t come to Bea’s for a salad; you come for fant